In a May 21 entry to the San Francisco Chronicle's Politics Blog, Chronicle political reporter Carla Marinucci wrote, "Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards, who recently proposed an educational policy that urged 'every financial barrier' be removed for American kids who want to go to college, has been going to college himself -- as a high paid speaker, his financial records show." According to Marinucci, Edwards "charged a whopping $55,000 to speak to a crowd of 1,787 [at] the taxpayer-funded University of California at Davis on Jan. 9, 2006," before Edwards declared his intention to seek the presidency. However, Marinucci made no mention of Republican presidential contender Rudy Giuliani, who reportedly charged Oklahoma State University $100,000 for a speech he delivered in 2006 and an additional $47,000 for the use of a private jet.
According to Marinucci's post on the Chronicle Politics Blog:
Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards, who recently proposed an educational policy that urged "every financial barrier" be removed for American kids who want to go to college, has been going to college himself -- as a high paid speaker, his financial records show.
The candidate charged a whopping $55,000 to speak at to a crowd of 1,787 the taxpayer-funded University of California at Davis on Jan. 9, 2006 last year, Joe Martin, the public relations officer for the campus' Mondavi Center confirmed Monday.
That amount -- which comes to about $31 a person in the audience -- included Edwards' travel and airfare, and was the highest speaking fee in the nine appearances he made before colleges and universities last year, according to his financial records.
The earnings -- though made before Edwards was a declared Democratic presidential candidate -- could hand ammunition to his competition for the Democratic presidential nomination. The candidate -- who was then the head of the Center on Poverty, Work and Opportunity at the University of North Carolina -- chose to speak on "Poverty, the great moral issue facing America," as his $55,000 topic at UC Davis.
Since he left office, Giuliani has leveraged his image as "America's mayor" to his decided financial advantage and in ways that belie his man-of-the-people persona.
He commands $100,000 for a speech, not including expenses, which his star-struck clients are happily willing to pay. In one speech last year at Oklahoma State University, Giuliani requested and received travel on a private Gulfstream jet that cost the school $47,000 to operate. His visit essentially wiped out the student speakers annual fund.
Like other high-priced speakers in the private sector, Giuliani routinely travels in style. Besides the Gulfstream, which is a standard perk on the big-time speakers circuit, his contract calls for up to five hotel rooms for his entourage, including his own two-bedroom suite with a preferred balcony view and king-size bed, in the event of an overnight stay.
The Oklahoma contract also required a sedan and an SUV, restrictions on news coverage and control over whom Giuliani would meet, how he would be photographed and what questions he might be asked.
According to Salon.com, Giuliani has earned $9.2 million in speaking fees since 2006.
The Chronicle blog post was flagged by Internet gossip Matt Drudge and was also highlighted in the May 22 edition of ABC News' political newsletter, "The Note," which claimed that "Edwards can't shake free of this do-as-I-say, not-as-I-do narrative."